Of Manure and Men

If the smell of manure is wafting through the state around this time of year it isn’t due to spring planting. The Gold Dome has had its annual share of foolishness that seems to end in a flourish this year with the disenfranchisement of voters, strangling rural hospitals, and despite their assertions to the contrary, a cutting of police budgets in the area of training. It’s horse trading time, and the GOP has decided that it would rather cut its nose off to spite its face than look at strategic investments in the freedom, well being, and safety of our state. 

The GA Senate is supposed to be the upper chamber. The Senators love to view themselves in that manner, at least. It’s supposed to be where the hot headedness of the House comes to cool off and the big boys (and girls, for the few female Senators there are) can rise to the occasion to make strategic decisions of policy and budget. It’s also the chamber where it’s just mathematically easier to manage for moving legislation because there’s fewer egos members.

In a uniquely stupid flex, the Senate version of the budget has decided to cut a few things. H/T to Maggie Lee, for her intrepid reporting on the matter. It’s unclear to me why, in a state where rural areas are those with the majority of Georgia’s population, also the lifeblood of the GOP, AND the hometown areas of both the Senate Appropriations Chair and the Governor, that cutting rural hospitals seems like a wise thing to do. I suppose they’re taking a similar approach to marketing the GOP as cigarette companies do their marketing: invest in schools for getting younger voters into the fold while acknowledging a natural attrition of older voters due to the imminence of death. Or maybe they’ve given up any hope of maintaining populations in small towns across the state, recognizing that everyone’s moving into cities anyway, so why try to stem the tide? 

In rural areas, your biggest employers of decent paying jobs are your schools, your hospitals, and your prisons. The budget cuts to education from the early 2000s have never been restored, the GOP is willing only to bolster teacher pay by a measly $1,000 bonus, and despite almost 20 years in the majority, the GOP is unwilling to reform QBE. So I hope no one is betting on schools being the source of prosperity and stable income in rural settings any longer. Judicial reform is depleting our prison numbers (a good thing, for sure) and that also means these jobs are bleeding in rural economies as well. Now the majority party isn’t even willing to invest in the very hospitals that ensure you won’t die on the side of some two lane highway en route to Atlanta? 

May God help us, because the police won’t know how to either.

In the past year, I had to do some hard looking into my own life, liberty, and I couldn’t ignore that my current neighborhood in Atlanta is exceedingly more policed then any place I’ve ever lived. It’s particularly strange because it is also the most tightly knit, community driven area I’ve lived in (in comparison to other neighborhoods in Atlanta, St. Mountain, Social Circle) as well. As a result, I joined BLM protesters in the streets after the murder of George Floyd, and I have followed the anemicaly few (two) meetings and painfully noticeable predominantly white panels held on police reform at the Capitol this past year. I was hopeful for positive change. Instead, I got the weak kneed response of repealing the archaic Citizen’s Arrest law here. And I would reasonably bet this legislation was championed for the opportunity for a bigger office run later, not for purely altruist reasons. Call me cynical.

One interesting tidbit I gleaned from the panel on police reform was that officers in the state of Georgia have less training requirements than folks who cut hair.

Does that make you more confident about the good guy with a gun? It doesn’t me. 

And now, instead of investing in training that might help to de-escalate situations and reduce deaths by police across our state, the GOP has cut that budget from the House version by $7.5M. Sure seems like the party that likes to promote life only likes to promote some lives, and only those at birth.

Speaking of valuing things, I wonder what Lincoln or Grant might say of his party here in Georgia, seeing these voting bills? A more perfect union definitely does NOT seem to be the aim of Georgia Republicans in this spanner year of voter suppression legislation. I guess if we can’t beat ‘em, take away their right to vote? 

This is a baaaaaaaad look, folks, built on super shaky evidence. Effectively, the GOP is mad because when they knocked doors to find voters on their rolls (as supplied by the Secretary of State) they didn’t find them. The assertion is that these voters are registered to vote in one place while residing in another. This isn’t super-uncommon. If you’re like me, you registered to vote in one place, moved while still owning the same property, didn’t change your registration (because you value voting more in one place than where you live), and if a campaign door knocker comes to knock on your door- they won’t find you. While this is annoying from a campaign stand point, that’s not really the voters’ problem, right? And rather than recognize this is just a margin of error size issue, the Georgia GOP’s State Chair has accused the GOP Secretary of State of not doing his job. This pissing match is really just a larger distraction from the fact that the GOP Chair didn’t effectively do his job, and rather than humbling himself, he’d rather double down in the fashion of Donald Trump. In the end, the party of anti-snowflakes seems to not be able to take their loss on the chin, and in a move not even supported by many party leaders, the GOP still seems intent on this march toward self immolation. 

I’m here for it. 

If what is going to move us forward as a state is the GOP burning itself to the ground, then so be it. Burn baby burn. And you know what is used as an effective fuel for fire in third world countries? 

Manure. Pile ‘em high, then, and light the flame, Gold Dome. 

Just remember that Atlanta has been through a few of these before: 1864 & 1917. Atlanta’s own symbol is the fabled bird that rises from the ashes. 

The Phoenix awaits her ascension. 

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